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What’s the Difference Between UI and UX?

What’s the Difference Between UI and UX?


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In our latest SaleCycle Academy video, CMO Chris Sheen explains the difference between User Experience Design (UX) and User Interface Design (UI).

Video Transcription

This week we’re looking at the differences between User Experience Design (UX) and User Interface Design (UI).
Both are important to product and website design, and should work closely together, but come from slightly different places.
User Interface Design is about the look, feel and presentation of a product or website. In simple terms, it focuses on visual appeal.
User experience design however, is about how effective and pleasurable a product or website is to use. In the case of a retail website for example, this would mean making it easy for customers to find and pay for items online.

Let’s use my beloved Heinz ketchup to explain the difference.
We’re all familiar with the original glass ketchup bottle. It looks great, it’s a design classic, and this is good UI design.
However, we’ve all struggled to get the ketchup out of the bottle thanks to the narrow neck. You have to shake it hard, smash the top with your hand, stick a knife (or chip) down it’s neck… and sometimes it goes horribly wrong.

In the last few years, ketchup bottles have changed. They have a wider top and, while the old bottles were placed upright in the fridge, the new ones are designed to be stored upside down. They’re also squeezable, which saves all that shaking about.
This means the ketchup is ready to come out, and the bottle is easier to use. This is great UX design.
Also, since the new bottle both looks good and is easier to use, it’s a great example of UX and UI working together.

All this highlights the importance of both UI and UX. If the bottle looks great but people hate using it, it won’t work as well. If the bottle works better but looks unappealing, people won’t pick it up from the shelf.
A great product, such as a website or a smartphone needs both UI and UX. The Apple iPhone sells billions because it looks great and is easy to use.
Sometimes of course, people forget about both UX and UI and we end up with things like this…

But thankfully, most brands appreciate the importance of both great UI and UX and our experiences as consumers get better year on year.


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